September 4, 2015

Washington Nationals Game 130 Review: Dark Night in St. Louis

NATIONALS BLOW TWO LEADS, DROP OPENER TO CARDS 8-5

If there was a game as badly mismanaged as this one anywhere else in the majors, it would’ve cost the losing manager their job.

Sadly, no such luck on Monday night in St. Louis.

The St. Louis Cardinals’ Pat Matheny managed just ever so slightly better than Matt Williams, and the Cardinals’ triumphed 8-5 after nine painful innings of baseball every Nationals fan cringed through.

Coupled with the New York Mets win over Philadelphia, the Nats fell to 6 1/2 games back in the division with 32 games to play. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 15 Review: Opposing Homers and Shaky Pitching Hurt The Nats in Loss To Cardinals

The Washington Nationals dropped game two of a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals 7-5 on Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 25,771 bundled up baseball fans. Right-handed starting pitcher Doug Fister took the mound for Washington in his second career appearance against the Cardinals, who went right to work on offense.

The Cardinals’ third baseman Matt Carpenter crushed his sixth career leadoff home run against Fister before Washington’s starter settled in and escaped the first inning with two strikeouts and Carpenter’s one run scored.

St. Louis continued their offensive output with a two-out, two-run homer by second baseman Kolten Wong off Fister in the second inning making it a 3-0 ballgame. The Cardinals tacked on another pair of runs one inning later, putting the Nats down by five runs, but Fister and the Nats gained offensive momentum in the bottom half of the third.

Fister’s single with one out in the third inning off right-handed starting pitcher John Lackey was the Nats’ second hit of the night and helped spark the rally that tied up the game at five runs each. Washington tallied five runs on five hits, a walk, and a sacrifice fly hit by outfielder Jayson Werth in the third inning against Lackey. Outfielder Denard Span, shortstop Ian Desmond, outfielder Bryce Harper, and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman all managed to hit singles off of Lackey, but third baseman Yunel Escobar’s three-run, two-out double is the reason Washington tied the game up at five runs each.

Once he found a groove, Fister — with the help of a productive defense — held the Cardinals to five runs. Fister gave up seven hits, five runs (four earned), and two home runs while striking out three and walking two batters. Fister threw 104 pitches and 69 strikes.

Left-handed relief pitcher Matt Grace replaced Fister in the seventh inning for the Nats. Grace flew in from Syracuse, NY on Wednesday and was a last-minute addition to the roster. According to Manager Matt Williams, Grace’s plane landed just about an hour before the evening’s scheduled game time. But Grace made it in time to pitch in his Major League debut at Nationals Park.

Grace pitched one inning and walked one batter while fending off an aggressive Cardinals lineup, but Washington’s bullpen couldn’t hold on to the lead after that despite his quality performance.

Right-handed reliever Blake Treinen was charged with the loss and pitched the eighth inning for Washington. Treinen gave up the lead after walking outfielder Jon Jay with one out and giving up back-to-back hits — including a single to catcher Yadier Molina and a double to Wong — which resulted in St. Louis taking a 6-5 lead.

The Cardinals gained a cushion run in the ninth inning when first baseman Mike Adams hit a solo home run off right-handed reliever Rafael Martin. St. Louis maintained their two-run, 7-5 lead over Washington and shutdown their offensive line to end the game.

HERO: Escobar for his two-out double in the third inning that tied up the game but also to Werth for his one-out sacrifice fly to right field that kept the momentum of that sole Nats rally moving steady.

GOAT: Treinin for blowing a win opportunity for Fister, especially after Grace pitch so well one inning prior and seeing Fister settle into a place where he’s inducing groundballs.

NATS NOTES:

  • The introduction of Matt Grace to the bullpen made for the third MLB debut for a Nats reliever this week.
  • Zimmerman’s hustle down the first baseline was like watching a gazelle do what it’s meant to do. He beat out two tight plays at first with a final stride that imitated a first baseman’s stretch.

UP NEXT: Michael Wacha (2-0, 1.35) and the St. Louis Cardinals face Max Scherzer (1-1, 0.83) and the Washington Nationals in D.C. at 4:05 p.m. to close out their three-game series.

Nats Nightly: Nationals fall to Kolten Wong and Cardinals 7-5

Dave Nichols of District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and Doghouse of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 7-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Check Out Baseball Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with District Sports Page Nats Nightly on BlogTalkRadio

Nats Nightly: Nationals 2-1 over Cardinals on Yunel Escobar walk-off HR

Tom Bridge of District Sports Page joins Patrick Reddington and Doghouse of Federal Baseball to discuss the Washington Nationals 2-1 10 inning win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Check Out Baseball Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with District Sports Page Nats Nightly on BlogTalkRadio

Washington Nationals Spring Training: Zimmermann strong again, Nats tie Cards

RYAN ZIMMERMAN LEAVES GAME AFTER DIVE, AWKWARD LEAP

Jordan Zimmermann allowed one earned run on four hits over six innings in his next-to-last start of spring training and the Washington Nationals added another tie to the ledger with a 1-1 finish against the St. Louis Cardinals at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida.

Following the game, Zimmermann told reporters in Florida “it’s not looking good” for the veteran righty to sign a contract extension before opening day, and he reiterated that he would not negotiate during the season, all but assuring that he will hit the open market as a free agent at the conclusion of the 2015 season. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Spring Training: Scherzer Ks 9, Cards win 1-0

RENDON “IN JEOPARDY” FOR OPENING DAY WITH KNEE INJURY

Max Scherzer struck out nine over six scoreless innings, but the St. Louis Cardinals scratched out a run in the eighth inning to beat the Washington Nationals 1-0 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.

The only run of the game came in that eighth inning, with Aaron Barrett pitching for the Nats. Barrett hit Kolten Wong with his first pitch of the frame, and Charlie Tilson pinch-ran. Tislon immediately stole second, then went to third on a wild pitch by Barrett. Tilson scored on Ty Kelly’s sacrifice fly.

The Nats went quietly against Jordan Walden in the top of the ninth, as Derrick Robinson, Mike Carp and Sandy Leon all struck out. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Spring Training: 4-run sixth help Nats top Cards

The Washington Nationals upped their Grapefruit League record to 3-0, using a four-run sixth inning to top the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 on Saturday in Viera.

Wilson Ramos led off the frame with a ground ball single and was replaced by pinch-runner Dan Butler. Michael Taylor followed with a line-drive single to left and Butler moved up 90 feet. After Cutter Dykstra was called out on strikes, Rafael Bautista’s line-drive single loaded the bases. Derrick Robinson struck out swinging, but Matt Skole followed with a single to center that plated Butler and Taylor, with Bautista going to third and Skole going to second on the throw.

Second base prospect Wilmer Difo then singled to right to score both Bautista and Skole.

The Nats picked up another run in the seventh when Dykstra’s triple scored Taylor, who reached on a fielder’s choice.

Stephen Strasburg started for the Nats and wasn’t particularly sharp. He went 1 2/3 innings and allowed two earned runs on three hits and two walks, striking out two. No. 2 prospect A.J. Cole followed and went 2 1/3 innings, allowing two runs — one earned — on two hits.

NATS NOTES:

  • Ryan Zimmerman joined Difo as Nats with two hits. Zimmerman was 2 for 3 but did not factor in any scoring.
  • Anthony Rendon was 0 for 3 and still looking for his first hit of the spring.
  • Bryce Harper was 1 for 2 before giving way to Clint Robinson.
  • Jerry Blevins, Casey Janssen and Felipe Rivero all pitched scoreless innings in relief.
  • Danny Espinosa, Rendon and Difo all made errors.

Washington Nationals Game 68 Review: Nats Miss Key Opportunities, Fall to Cards 5-2

It’s a safe bet the Washington Nationals are ready to leave Busch Stadium.

Doug Fister struggled in what amounted to the Nats’ 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday afternoon. Oddly enough, the Nats’ bats weren’t completely silent. The offense rounded up eight hits on the night, including five against St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia (W, 3-0).

What failed to help Washington’s chances, however, was the fact that the offense stranded 10 base runners and went just 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Fister retired the side in the first before allowing a lead-off single to Allen Craig in the second. The next batter – Matt Adams – homered on an 84 MPH cutter to put the Cardinals up 2-0 early. Fister gave up two more singles in the inning – to Jon Jay and Tony Cruz – but pitched out of the inning without allowing additional runs to score.

That only held true until the next half-inning, however, when Matt Holliday hit a solo shot to make it 3-0.

In the top of the fifth, the Nats were handed a bit of luck. Danny Espinosa hit a lead-off single and took second on a wild pitch. Both Sandy Leon and Fister failed to advance Espinosa but, after Anthony Rendon walked, Nate McLouth hit a two-out single to keep the inning alive with the bases loaded.

Much to the Nats’ fortune, Jayson Werth drew a walk to bring home Espinosa and trim the Cardinals’ lead to two runs.

That is, until the bottom of the inning.

Kolten Wong led off with a triple and came home on a sacrifice fly by Holliday to make it 4-1 St. Louis.

In the seventh, the Nats called upon Ross Detwiler to relieve Fister, but the move didn’t stop the Cardinals from tallying another run.

With two outs, Holliday walked and came home on a double by Allen Craig to make it 5-1.

The Nationals only earned back an additional run – in the top of the ninth – with Jason Motte on the mound.

With two outs, Leon singled, allowing pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs to keep the inning alive with a single of his own. The Cardinals then called upon Trevor Rosenthal, who gave up a single to Rendon to load the bases. And, despite the clear opportunity to make things interesting, LaRoche could only muster a walk to plate the run before Werth popped out to first to end the game.

With the loss, the Nationals fall into a tie with the Miami Marlins for second place in the NL East.

Nats Nightly: Nationals lose second straight in St. Louis, 4-1 to Cardinals

Dave Nichols of the District Sports Page and Patrick Reddington and “Doghouse” of Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Find Additional Baseball Podcasts with District Sports Page Nats Nightly on BlogTalkRadio

Washington Nationals Game 66 Review: Lack of Offense Spoils Zimmermann’s Outing

Jordan Zimmermann gave the Washington Nationals all he had, but it was not enough to compete with the St. Louis Cardinals’ Lance Lynn Friday night at Busch Stadium.

Lynn held the Nats to just two hits of scoreless baseball through eight before Trevor Rosenthal closed out the Cards’ 1-0 win.

The Nats’ bats have struggled as of late, having accounted for just one run in the past 14 innings. Still, the Nats narrowly hold onto first place in the NL East, tied with the Atlanta Braves and one game up on the Miami Marlins.

As has so often been the case, the Nats failed to provide run support in an otherwise stellar pitching performance. Zimmermann tossed eight innings of three-hit, one-run baseball, while striking out five and walking just one over 76 pitches thrown.

Lynn held the Nats hitless until Jose Lobaton singled in the top of the sixth. Zimmermann popped out in the next at-bat and Denard Span lined out to end the half-inning without advancing the runner.

The Nats’ only other hit happened in the seventh when Jayson Werth singled with one out in the seventh.

Long before that point, however, the Nats were already in a one-run hole, thanks to a solo shot off the bat of Matt Adams in the second. The homer marked his fourth of the season.

With the undeserved loss, Zimmermann is now 5-3 on the season with a 2.98 ERA. Lynn now boasts a 7-4 record with a 3.69 ERA.

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